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tv   CBS Evening News With Katie Couric  CBS  April 5, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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6:00. see you at 6:00. >> smith: tonight, it's beginning to look like a game of political chicken. >> the last thing we need is a disruption that's caused by a government shutdown. >> listen, our goal is to keep the government open. >> smith: if the government does shut down, it's the other guy's fault. i'm harry smith. also tonight, as cracks are found in more southwest 737s, a cbs news investigation reveals fining airlines for maintenance violations does not always lead to safer planes. who killed malcolm x? a new biography says it's time to reopen the case. and america's most famous duck... >> aflac! >> smith: ...is about to get a new quack. captioning sponsored by cbs
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from cbs news world headquarters in new york, this is the "cbs evening news" with katie couric. >> smith: good evening, katie is on assignment. the ongoing battle over how much to cut from this year's federal budget has republicans and democrats at odds yet again. the stalemate could end up in a government shutdown in a matter of days, and before that battle is settled, a new one is beginning over a republican proposal to cut trillions from future budgets. a plan that includes dramatic changes to medicare. more on that in a moment. first, though, the standoff president obama had congressional leaders in the white house to head off the shutdown but there was no deal. so the president headed for the white house briefing room and chip reid was there. chip, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, harry. the president had two goals in
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his surprise visit to the briefing room. first, he wanted to force republicans to compromise in this budget battle, and, second, he wants to make sure that if there is a government shutdown, republicans get the blame. >> we are now closer than we have ever been to getting an agreement. there's no reason why we should not get an agreement. >> reporter: the president said the american people don't want finger pointing, then promptly pointed his finger directly at republicans for refusing to compromise. >> nobody gets 100% of what they want and we have more than met the republicans halfway at this point. >> reporter: but republican speaker john boehner says the president's to blame for the standoff, calling mr. obama's budget cuts "smoke and mirrors." >> you've heard me say for the last three months that we have no interest in the government shutting down. but we are interested in cutting spending here in washington, d.c. >> reporter: if there is a shutdown, what exactly will happen is murky at best. most of the nation's 4.4 million federal employees are deemed essential and would continue to work. but hundreds of thousands of nonessential workers would stay home.
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social security checks would continue to be mailed, but tax refunds from the i.r.s. could be delayed. and the pentagon said today it's unclear if the troops will be paid on time. the president said he'll call congressional leaders back here to the white house everyday this week if they can't reach a deal on their own. the one thing the white house is hoping to do is have the president appear like an adult breaking up a childish battle. harry? >> smith: and if the government does get shut down, chip, this is high-stakes brinkmanship. >> it really is, harry. remember 15 years ago the last time that was government shutdown president clinton outmaneuvered newt gingrich and the republicans got the blame. but i should add it's not just the blame game, both sides want to avoid a shutdown because of the negative effect it would have on the fragile economic recovery. harry? >> smith: chip reid at the white house tonight. thanks. now to the budget plan, the republican chairman of the house budget committee put out today for next year and beyond. paul ryan of wisconsin says it would cut about $6 trillion in spending over the next ten years
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by overhauling medicare and the tax code. nancy cordes is on capitol hill with more on that. nancy, good evening. >> reporter: harry, these cuts are broader than anything either party has ever put forward. republicans say they are the key to the nation's fiscal health while democrats say they will tear apart the nation's safety net. >> this is the path to prosperity. >> reporter: making good on their chief campaign promise, house republicans unveiled a plan to dramatically shrink the size of government by overhauling the social programs at the root of the nation's debt crisis. >> it is time to stand up and do what is necessary to fix this country. we need to be honest with the american people about the problems we face. >> reporter: starting with medicare which they want to convert over time from a government-run insurance program to a subsidy. seniors could use it to help defray the cost of private insurance. >> no changes-- let me repeat, no changes-- are made that would affect those in or near retirement.
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>> reporter: then republicans want to put a cap on medicaid, food stamp assistance, and housing assistance programs, giving states a fixed amount of money each year to insure the poor, instead of making payments that fluctuate based on need. the medicaid changes alone, they say, would save $750 billion over ten years. but democrats say the cuts come at the expense of those who can least afford it: the poor and the elderly. >> they essentially end medicare as we know it. they don't reform it, they deform it. >> reporter: the wealthiest americans would get a major tax break. the plan calls for reducing the top tax bracket and the corporate tax bracket from 35% to 25%, a move republicans claim would spur job growth. >> there's nothing more sacred for the republicans than making sure that they protect wealth. >> reporter: this house republican plan has no chance of passing as is in the democratically controlled senate
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but it completely reshapes the debate over spending both here in the halls of congress and out on the campaign trail, harry. >> smith: nancy cordes on capitol hill, thanks. in libya today, a rebel leader demanded that nato step up air attacks against moammar qaddafi's military. nato says it's already destroyed about a third of qaddafi's hardware, but the colonel still has plenty of firepower-- enough to force the opposition to retreat once again today. allen pizzey is with the rebels in eastern libya. ( distant explosions ) >> reporter: sustained rocket and artillery fire from libyan army forces stalled the rebel advance on the city of brega today. this may look like just another shambles in a groundhog day war, but brega is an oil port and the rebels need as many of those as they can get. the first oil shipment from rebel areas began loading from the port of tobruk today, but it could be the only one. sources say qaddafi's forces attacked the main pumping
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station that feeds crude into an underground pipeline to tobruk. three million barrels of oil are already stored in tobruk, the pipelines need a constant if minimal flow of oil to stay in working order. oil underpins everything in libya. under qaddafi's unique economic system, most people's salaries were paid by the government, averaging about $250 a month. banking sources say there's only enough money left here in rebel- held areas to keep that going for another two to three months. banks have plenty of cash but the international freeze on libyan assets is hurting. "the u.n. can help by exempting our institutions from sanctions" bank manager wassem al-zwaey says. "but if this drags on, people will become dependent on relief aid." the stores may look full, but most of the merchandise is imported. dr. salma megrabi says even though she has money she can't get everything she wants and worries things will only get worse. which more or less sums up the way the fighting is going as
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well. allen pizzey, cbs news, benghazi. >> smith: something finally worked today in the fight to stop radiation leaking from that damaged nuclear plant in japan. and celia hatten reports it happened just as contamination concerns led to new restrictions on seafood. >> reporter: finally some success at japan's crippled fukushima nuclear complex. since at least saturday, highly radioactive water has been pouring out of this eight-inch crack straight into the pacific ocean. but now, after several failures, a combination of liquid glass and gravel seems to have stopped the leak. as this japanese media demonstration shows, the mixture acts like the sealant around your bathtub. the next challenge? workers need to store 16 million gallons of radioactive water that's been used to cool the complex's exposed overheating reactors. that's where megafloat comes in. it's an artificial island
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normally used for fishermen. at 450 feet long, it's the size of 14 basketball courts. after a ten-day trip, its new role will be to store contaminated water. also on route, a radiation treatment ship russia uses when decommissioning nuclear submarines. it turns radioactive water into concrete. water collected 19 miles offshore and tested shows radioactive iodine and cesium levels increasing in four out of five locations between last thursday and monday. still, scientists insist human health is not at risk. "it is still a very low level of radiation and no harm to the human body" explains this is scientist. but fish can absorb radioactivity over time until their levels are higher than the water they swim in. so japan had to invent standards for acceptable levels of
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radiation after contaminated fish were discovered friday. "we don't have to eat fresh fish" says this woman. "we can always eat dried ones that were caught last year." that's the kind of shared sacrifice and ingenuity japan is using to solve its nuclear crisis. celia hatton, cbs news, tokyo. >> smith: radiation is used in c.t. scans everyday and a study out today says more american children are getting them in the e.r., especially for stomach problems and head injuries than ever before. about 330,000 scans were done in 1995. by the next decade, five times that number were being done. dr. jon lapook looks at whether children are getting the radiation in the right doses. >> reporter: using radiation to create a detailed image, the c.a.t. scan is fast and accurate. it's a go-to test for doctors in the e.r. >> c.t. is extremely helpful in terms of diagnosing emergent
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conditions in children and has been life saving. >> reporter: but when it comes to kids, all those c.a.t. scans could be too much of a good thing because they can add up to an adult-sized dose of radiation. >> we still need to be accountable for the radiation that we give our patients, whether they're adults or children. >> reporter: radiation is measured in units called millisieverts. people are normally exposed to about three millisieverts a year from the environment. a typical c.a.t. scan varies between three and ten. a single dose of 100 millisieverts increases the risk of cancer. the study found the largest increase in c.a.t. scans was for the abdomen. in most cases, like this morning at duke university medical center... >> i heard that was two-year-old with abdominal pain. >> reporter: doctors suspect appendicitis, so far tests have been inconclusive. >> our options are to send him for another ultrasound to attempt to see the appendix or we can get a c.a.t. scan. >> reporter: today's report called for more oversight of c.a.t. scans given to children.
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pediatric specialists are more likely to adjust the radiation dose to the smaller size of the kids. >> we absolutely do give a lower dose. there is a wide variation and there are published guise lines on how to image gently and use the least radiation necessary. >> reporter: the risk of a fatal cancer from a single scan is very low, less than one in a hundred thousand. but the cumulative effect of multiple scans starting in childhood could add up over time. harry? >> smith: how do we make sure our kids don't get overexposed? >> harry there is one simple step, and that's parents should keep a diary. ad would include the date, the type of the scan-- say an abdominal c.a.t. scan-- where it was done and finally, this can be tricky to get, the radiation dose. when i ask radiologists for this dose they give me a hard time because it can be hard to calculate this. but next year in california it's going to be law for the radiation dose from a c.a.t. scan to be included on the report and i expect that other states are going to follow suit. a very good idea, in my opinion. >> smith: dr. jon lapook, thanks. for more information, all you need do is go to our partner in health news, webmd.com, and
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search "c.t. scans for kids." still ahead on the "cbs evening news," after the voice of aflac runs afoul of his bosses, a call goes out for a replacement. ( yelling "aflac" ) but up next, cracks in more southwest planes and flaws in a system that's supposed to ensuring airline safety. copd mae so i wasn't playing much of a role in my own life. but with advair, i'm breathing better. so now, i've got the leading part.?ú advair is clinically proven to help significantly improve lung function. unlike most copd medications, advair contains both an anti-inflammatory and a long-acting bronchodilator, working together to help improve your lung function all day. advair won't replace fast-acting inhalers for sudden symptoms and should not be used more than twice a day.
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>> smith: an f.a.a. order went out today for airlines to inspect older-model boeing 737s for cracks in the fuselage. southwest says it has now finished checking its fleet. cracks were found in a total of six planes, including the one that made an emergency landing on friday. meanwhile, what happens to an airline when it's fined for safety violations? travel editor peter greenberg has the result of a cbs news investigation. >> reporter: the f.a.a.'s system of fining airlines for maintenance problems isn't working according to former national transportation safety board member john goglia. >> you know, i don't know of a study that's ever been done by the f.a.a. or anybody else that can correlate the fines to improving safety. >> reporter: look at what happened in 2007. the f.a.a. found that southwest airlines had improperly inspected 46 of its planes for metal fatigue and when reinspected, all were discovered to have cracks.
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the f.a.a. slapped the company with a $10.5 million fine. but a year later, southwest had the fine knocked down to $7.5 million. news of more crack this is week raise questions about the effectiveness of those fines. >> there's very little incentive if the airline doesn't feel the pain of the fine, the ultimate victim is: safety. >> reporter: so just how often do the airlines have to pay their fines in full? we asked the f.a.a. the agency said the only way to find out was to file a public records request-- and so we did. from 2000 to 2009 the f.a.a. proposed fines against the major airlines 102 times. 70 times those fines were reduced on appeal. like when frontier air violated weight restrictions in 2002. they were fined $200,000. they bargained it down to $133,000. or alaska air, fines $500,000 for faulty exit lights. they paid about $330,000.
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all told, the airlines were given a nearly $7.2 million break. the f.a.a. said in a statement they reduce the fines when airlines present evidence that a charge was unwarranted and that letting airlines appeal fines is a process required by law. southwest is one of the top safety records, but the f.a.a.'s policy of allowing reduced fines raises questions about whether the skies are as safe as they can be. peter greenberg, cbs news, new york. >> smith: when we come back, a new book raises the question: did the wrong men go to prison for the murder of malcolm x? x? through the body. my doctor diagnosed it as fibromyalgia, thought to be the result of overactive nerves that cause chronic, widespread pain. lyrica is believed to calm these nerves. i learned lyrica can provide significant relief from fibromyalgia pain. and less pain means i can do more with the ones i love.
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take care of your heart with cheerios. the whole grain oats can help lower cholesterol. love your heart so you can do what you love. >> smith: it's been 46 years since malcolm x was assassinated here in new york city. the details were always murky, and now a new biography is bringing calls for another investigation. here's national correspondent jim axelrod. >> by any means necessary... >> reporter: it is perhaps the greatest unsolved mystery of the turbulent 1960s. who killed malcolm x? this new book, the exhaustive work of columbia university professor manning marable, outlines why the investigation should be open. marable died last week, just before publication. why is it important that all these years later the investigation be reopened? >> it is important because professor marable believed in justice and his killers were never served justice. >> reporter: february 21, 1965, malcolm x was speaking to several hundred people at a
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ballroom in harlem when suddenly three men stood up in the front rows and opened fire. thomas hagen was caught at the scene and confessed to being one of the gunmen. 12 years later, he signed affidavits claiming two other men who both served long prison sentences had nothing to do with the shooting. >> as marable's quite powerful book details, four of the actual assassins never were pursued and at least one of them still lives openly in the metro new york area. >> reporter: the book claims the n.y.p.d. knew malcolm x's life was in danger but turned the other way in the face of threats. by almost any standard, the investigation here at the murder scene was shoddy. four hours after malcolm x was shot, the audubon was reopened for a church dance. the crime scene was cleaned up
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before a full forensic analysis could be done. >> there were still bullet holes in the wall when this dance party was taking place. so, you know, these kinds of questions are the kinds of questions that this book raises. >> reporter: police deny a coverup, but in his last interview, marable told cbs news he wanted the u.s. justice department to reopen the case. now plenty of people will wait to see if this last wish will be granted. jim axelrod, cbs news, new york. from my worst allergy symptoms. it's the brand allergists recommend most. ♪ lily and i are back on the road again. where we belong. with zyrtec®, i can love the air®.
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the shocking allegations againt police officers next on cbs 5 >> smith: finally tonight, the job market is starting to pick up again. in fact, one job that's become available involves selling insurance. the main qualification? the ability to sound like a duck. marksmark strassmann tells us the line of applicants was long long and loud. >> aflac! >> aflac! >> reporter: think of it as "american idol" meets animal planet. >> aflac! >> i have webbed feet, i walk like a duck and i had a dream that i was a duck this morning. >> reporter: a national audition to find the voice of aflac's next spokes duck.
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>> aflac? >> reporter: the one americans heard in 10,000 commercials a year. >> what'd you say? >> aflac! >> reporter: the star of the company's $100 million plus advertising budget. >> why not? why not me? aflac! >> reporter: new yorker bradley ellison has the gravelly voice. >> aflac! >> i think i'm good. i think i'm like one of the final ten! ( laughs ) >> reporter: after 11 years, last month the aflac duck lost the only voice it ever had. >> aflac! shock comedian gilbert gottfried. but gottfried ao fended aflac with jokes about japanese tsunami victims. the insurance giant does 75% of its business in japan so c.e.o. dan amos fired him. >> the first thing is panic, you know? a crisis has just occurred. what is going to be our next step? >> aflac! >> reporter: well, find a new duck voice. >> that wasn't funny, dude. >> reporter: not exactly what aflac executives learned in
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business school. more than 11,000 people auditioned on line. >> aflac! >> hundreds more in person. doing their duck in a variety of moods. >> can you do one where you're crying through it? >> aflac! >> reporter: laugh if you want for aflac, getting it right is no joke. >> aflac! >> reporter: but month's end, the company will pick a new voice. >> you want me to say aflac in spanish? >> reporter: the job pays low six figures just to quack one word well. >> aflac! >> reporter: is this a great country or what? >> never dreamt that i would be quacking for my living. ( laughs ). >> reporter: mark strassmann, cbs news, atlanta. >> aflac! >> smith: that's the "cbs evening news." for katie couric, i'm harry smith. thanks for joining us. good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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. you're watching cbs 5 eyewitness news in high definition. >> it is very hard to say what the prognosis is. it's really too early at this point. >> the news out of southern california not encouraging. giants fan brian stow is fighting for his life. the latest efforts to find his attackers and growing efforts to support his family. >> i do not believe that the operator knew that he was assaulted. more questions after last week's wild ride on00. what should have happened when the train took off with an open door. >> it's a case many californians will never forget. tonight a parole decision for one of the chowchilla kidnappers. good evening i'm allen martin. >> we learned tonight that the giants fans beat up outside of dodgers safety was worried about

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